It's July, and that means it is time for my annual 2 week camping trip on Labor and Delivery. Every year, my partner, OtherDoc, takes a two week July vacation, and I take a two week hiatus from sanity. I'd like to think that I'm a fairly busy physician on my own, but when I see 30 patients in a day, OtherDoc sees 60 patients in a day. While I do 10-20 deliveries in an average month, he does 30-40. Put us both together, and it is a recipe for sleepless nights, crazy days, and very little time spent at home. Last year I got so busy, it pushed me over the brink from gestational hypertension to full on preeclampsia, and my own physician had to ferret me out on labor and delivery at 9 pm to tell me to wise up and go home for bed rest. (I delivered 2 days later.)
This year has been no exception. I've delivered 8 babies since Monday evening, and have spent early morning, noon, and night with patients. Mr. Whoo has been left to defend the home front, and, in his usual superstar fashion, he has handled everything in a superb way. CindyLou, my four year old daughter, was diagnosed with strep throat this week, and Mr. Whoo was elected to stay home while I delivered another 3 children. When I got home, I was amazed. The house was clean, the laundry was done, dinner was cooking, and CindyLou was feeling much better. Now, granted, he did just have the 4 year old (I took the baby to daycare for quarantine purposes), and I'm quite certain that CindyLou spent the day plugged in to the Disney channel, but *still* it was amazing. It sparked a conversation about perhaps having Mr. Whoo stay home with the children, full time.
I consider myself more than a little...traditional, if you will. I chose to take my husband's name when we got married, and feminist issues have always been more remote on my radar. (Not that I'm *down with women* or anything, but I just don't have a bee in my bonnet about such things.) Since leaving residency, financially, I am the bread-winner, but Mr. Whoo is also a professional with a good job and great benefits. A few years ago, we would have never considered this scenario, but now it seems a viable option. We've been struggling, with both of us working, to keep above water with the household chores, cooking, shopping, laundry, and keeping the children cared for, fed, and entertained. It makes sense, financially and personally, to seriously consider this option; especially as I look for better job opportunities. I don't think we could sustain it long term, because Mr. Whoo has professional aspirations, as well. He is preparing to pursue another degree to further his career, but, for now, it seems the time may be right. I'm pretty sure that Mr. Whoo won't try to feed the baby chili for lunch, and "girl's night" at the male strip club is definitely out, but I do worry that it may hurt his male pride a bit to be the stay-at-home parent. Any advice out there from those of you that have chosen this path?